Kier’s £35m restoration of Glasgow School of Art’s Mackintosh Building has been at least partially destroyed after a second major fire in four years.
The fire started late on Friday night and caused extensive damage to the listed building and several nearby properties before being brought under control by firefighters.
When asked if any of the restoration work had been destroyed, Scottish Fire and Rescue deputy assistant chief officer Peter Heath said: “I would say, given the extent of the fire, that would be a fair comment.”
Kier was carrying out the restoration works of the Mackintosh Building – named after notable Scottish designer Charles Rennie Mackintosh – after the first major fire in May 2014 caused heavy damage.
The £35m programme of works was nearing completion ahead of the building’s planned reopening next year.
The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) said the blaze had caused “exceptionally significant damage” to all parts of the building and investigations were being carried out to find out what caused the fire.
At its height there were a total of 120 firefighters and 10 fire engines tackling the blaze.
CREDIT Scottish Fire and Rescue_Glasgow School of Art fire_Mackintosh 2
Source: Scottish Fire and Rescue
Around 50 firefighters remained at the scene on Sunday, with the SFRS saying the fire had been “largely contained” apart from a few remaining pockets.
Speaking on Sunday, SFRS group manager Martin Hill said: “This has clearly been a protracted incident and today we are still very much in a firefighting phase.
“Our firefighters have been working effectively throughout the night and we are continuing to dampen down any remaining pockets of fire.
“We are also using thermal imaging cameras to identify any hidden hot spots and will continue, working alongside partners, to assess our priorities and our tactical firefighting operation over the course of the day.”
A Kier spokeswoman said:“Kier has been working with the Glasgow School of Art since 2016 on the restoration of the Mackintosh building and so we share the devastation felt by the school and the wider public at this time.
”We are working closely with the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service in their investigation and as such it would be inappropriate to comment further whilst an investigation is ongoing.”
CREDIT Scottish Fire and Rescue_Glasgow School of Art fire_Mackintosh 1
Source: Scottish Fire and Rescue
Glasgow School of Art’s response to fire
“A major fire started in the Mackintosh Building around 11.15pm Friday 15 June. The incident is still ongoing and the site is currently under control of the SFRS.
“We are liaising closely with SFRS, with Kier and both the Scottish and UK governments. SFRS investigations are ongoing and we are awaiting their outcome.
“The Mackintosh Building has been undergoing a period of extensive restoration following the fire in 2014 and therefore has not been a part of the GSA’s operational campus for four years.
“Whilst the fire is devastating news, the Glasgow School of Art’s immediate focus is on our students, and on the continuing operation of the GSA to ensure minimum disruption to students and staff.
“The GSA and all of its buildings will remain closed for the next week, and we will provide updates as and when information is available.”
GSA Chair of the Board of Governors Muriel Gray said: “First we would like to express our deep gratitude to the magnificent Scottish Fire and Rescue Service, and also to extend our sympathy to our neighbours, both residents and businesses, who have also suffered, very much including the beloved O2 venue.
”It is an understatement to say everyone is utterly devastated but as usual the GSA Executive Team, staff and students, have been outstanding, positive and supportive. We now have a difficult waiting game until SFRS , Glasgow City Council and associated agencies have completed their investigations into the condition of the Building.
”We remain hopeful of as positive an outcome as possible because it is clear that the love for the Mackintosh and recognition of its importance to Glasgow and the wider world is shared by absolutely everyone”.